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Beautiful Birth Stories March 6, 2008

 

Kai’s birth story

 

 

  After being a week past my due date, and trying everything I knew of, except castor oil, to get labor started, on Friday night May 7th after briskly walking 2 miles I decided to give it up and realized that Kai would come in his own perfect time, nothing I could do would make it happen any sooner. So I went to sleep like normal, having no contractions or any twinges at all.
  Saturday Morning, May 8th
Kristian, my 6 year old had a soccer game at 9am, Kris came to wake me up and I felt like I was in a dream world, my body was so tired. I felt like lead bricks had been placed all over me. He asked if I wanted to stay home and not go to the game, but I knew I may miss the next one or more so I got up and went. On the way home I was still feeling tired, and just tired of being pregnant, so I called our Doula, Rosemary to talk to her. She told me I was doing everything possible to start labor and again Kai would come in his own time, so we went on home.
  Kris cooked brunch for all of us and then I decided to take a short nap. Well this nap turned into a 4 1/2 hour sleep. My Body knew what it needed. When I woke up I wasn’t having any contractions, but things were starting to happen. We were supposed to go to Kris’s brother’s house for a Mother’s Day get together with all of his family, it is about 30 or so min away and I knew there would be TONS of people there. We decided to go ahead and go, but I didn’t want anyone to know if I was having contractions because I had my vision of my labor and I didn’t want anyone else involved. So Kris was well aware if I said I need to leave we would quietly slip out and go.
  While at Kenny’s house we ate a good dinner and I had a couple of mild contractions, nothing too bad just a little uncomfortable. Kris and the kids rode the 4-wheelers, and I later found out that Kris had wrecked on the motorcycle and hurt his shoulder, but he did not let this on to me until much later.
  8pm, we left Kenny’s house and on the way home I began having contractions that were every 10 min, they were uncomfortable but I could still talk and breathe through them so I wan’t ready to head to the birth center at that time.
  9:00 we got home and I called Rosemary and let her know about the contractions, then I called Dinah our midwife just to give her the heads up, with Kayden I had contractions that were 10 min apart for hours, so I still thought I had a while to go. Dinah was getting ready to go see a movie, so I told her that I wasn’t ready to come in yet, they weren’t that strong.
9:45 The contractions started coming about every 5-6 min and they were stronger so I went to take a shower to see if they slowed down at all. I was ok while in the shower, but once I got out they were coming every 5 min again and much stronger. Kris took the kids to the babysitter at 10:30, when he got home we called Rosemary and then Kris called Dinah and she said to come on in.
  The ride to the Birth Center was a hard one. The contractions were coming very fast and strong, it was surreal. The lights from the passing cars were trailing, it was almost like I was in a drug induced haze. Kris said at one point I told him to stop hitting bumps, but I don’t remember that. Still I wasn’t in pain, I just felt ALOT of pressure with every contraction.
  We arrived at the Birth Center around 11:30 I think. Dinah checked me and said “Ok, guess how far dilated you are…” I thought she’d say 4cm or so, but then she said, ” You are 9cm!!!!”  I was amazed, I knew it wouldn’t be long before Kai made it into the world.
  I got on the birth ball and Kris and Rosemary began massaging my back.  They were putting pressure on my low back which felt really good and at one point Rosemary used a Lavender Oil which helped to relax me. Pretty soon the tub was filled and warm and ready for me to get in.
I never realized the power of water to help relax you, but it felt so good.
  With every contraction Kris, Rosemary, and Dinah helped me to relax and really listen to my body. My water never broke, so I wasn’t feeling the urge to push yet, but I could feel Kai moving down in my body. I know at one point I held my stomach and said “ok Kai I feel you still kicking me” That was such a cool moment to be able to realize your baby’s last few kicks inside your body. Kris was amazing during all this, he stayed so calm and knew just when to massage me or give me words of encouragement.
Finally after me trying to push several times and just not feeling the “urge” Dinah decided to break my water. Almost instantly when she did I pushed 2 times and Kai was here. The only true pain I felt during this was when he was crowning, but as soon as he was out it was instant relief.
 
Kai Matthew Howell was born at 1:38 am on May 9th, Mother’s day. He was 8lbs, 13 oz and 21 inches long. He was immediately put on my chest and when the cord stopped pulsing Kris cut it. We relaxed in the bed and established breastfeeding, once the placenta was finally delivered (that’s a whole different story) I was able to take a shower, have a good meal, and everything checked out, we were able to go home. We were back home in our own comfortable bed by 4:45 am.
  This was the birth I had dreamed of. it was totally amazing, Using a Midwife, Doula, having a supportive husband, and going to a birth center made all the difference.  If we ever have any more children (probably not) I would want to try to go the same route again.

 

 

 

 

 

Livia Pauline’s Birth Story

Ultimately, Livia was born in the bed in which she was conceived. But that is the end, or the beginning.

Here is the beginning. It starts in San Francisco in a movie theater by myself 2 years ago. Josh was on call and I had gone to see a movie that everyone was talking about, The Business of Being Born. The documentary was about natural childbirth and midwifery and the way children are born in the United States. I found myself fascinated and somewhat obsessed after the movie. While I always knew I wanted to be a mother I suddenly was very concerned with the process in which I became a mother. I made everyone I know see this movie and talk about it with me. I was in love with the idea of a sweet natural unmedicated home birth to bring a much beloved baby into the world.

While I was convinced that I would have trouble getting pregnant, or trouble staying pregnant, these were things that I thankfully did not have to endure. I was off birth control for one year to clear out my body and then I got pregnant the second month we tried.  I was also convinced that I would have trouble during the pregnancy- preterm labor, bed rest, something. But, again luckily it went quite swimmingly despite my worries.

I was vague about my due date- between my period and early ultrasound there was a week difference. I knew the baby would be due sometime between Jan 30th and Feb 7th but I also knew so many people having their babies two to three weeks ahead of their due date.  I stopped working on January 29th. I was getting very tired by the end of the day and even tired of questions from people about when I was going to have the baby ,etc.

Being physicians, Josh and I got a lot of crap from people regarding our decision to see a midwife, Dinah, and our plan for a home birth.  We had many friends and family who supported our decision but we also had friends who yelled at us and accused us of being irresponsible. Ultimately, I knew that Josh was the smartest physician I knew and that he had more at stake than anyone. As long as he thought it was safe, I knew I would be safe.

So- January 30th came and went, February 7th came and went, February 11th came with a 12 inch snowfall! Everyone I knew that was due around my date and even after had their babies. I was frustrated, I had worried about so many things- but her being late was not one of them. The days passed slowly with phone calls and text messages. Every morning I would wake up and think, “okay another day pregnant”. I would check my entire body for any signs of change, anything to herald the beginning of labor and nothing. I would then grab the iphone and begin to read the emails, facebook notifications, phone calls, and text messages that said “baby?” “anything?” “just checking in…” “you poor thing!” “have you tried ____?.I spent the days nesting and resting and worrying about induction. I tried acupuncture, having sex, nipple stimulation, spicy food, I walked for hours, did the elliptical machine, drank Guiness, everything! After much debate Josh and I decided that we would not feel comfortable going beyond 42 weeks. This brought on more comments from people who had never been supportive in the first place who now were up in arms thinking we were crazy. We were told nothing good happens after 41 weeks, that we shouldn’t even consider having a homebirth after our due date,etc.

By Friday February 19th I woke up having some contractions. I had been having contractions but they were not painful and not predictable. These were different, they felt like diarrhea cramps and came about every 10 minutes. We had a sono that morning and a non stress test which looked great. I went to see Dinah and I was still 80% effaced, fingertip dilated and the contractions stopped. We had a big Indian food buffet and then went for a 3 mile walk and the contractions started again coming every 12-15 minutes. We kept it to ourselves and started to time them and do some last minute things around the house. Dinah told us to get some sleep but of course we were too excited. We went to bed around 1 and I was up at 6 am too uncomfortable to lie in the bed any longer.

On Saturday morning we told our families I was in labor. We tried to remind them that it could take 24 hours or longer but we wanted them to know that it had begun. I was not hungry at all but Josh made some French toast and I ate a piece of that. Saturday was a blur, the Olympics were on television and I can remember sitting in the rocking chair and watching ski jumping in between contractions I was thinking- now that is scary. I also labored in the bath- in between the contractions which were now coming every 8-10 minutes. Josh was great, he would rub my back, help me breathe, bring me water, warm packs, and remind me to rest and eat.  Dinah came by on Saturday afternoon, my exam was unchanged. She insisted that I try to eat and gave me some skullcap to help me sleep that evening. She tried to encourage me that it was okay that my exam was the same and that it would be a long labor but she felt confident that I would have the baby on Sunday. Saturday night I was able to sleep a couple restless hours after I ate a little bit of ribolita that mom had made and brought over.

Sunday morning I was in the bath by 4 am. I kept to myself refusing food but drinking lots of water and some Gatorade. I wanted to be alone during most of the contractions which were now coming every 5 to 8 minutes. In between, I wanted to be reassured and massaged. A few times Josh tried to help me during the contractions but mostly I just needed him to help me breathe. I used a lot of yoga breathing. Thinking of the words, let while inhaling and go while exhaling. I had been told to give into labor and give into the contractions to try and make it go more quickly and so I really kept trying to let go and let it happen. I labored on my feet- holding on to the book case, the dresser, the doorway, and the shelves in the bathroom. I swayed and moaned and breathed and breathed and breathed. I had passed a lot of mucous that day which was bloody- I had thought I had passed my mucous plug early in the week- clearly I was wrong- this stuff was copious and nasty and fascinating. By 11:00 am on Sunday I was exhausted and discouraged. I told Josh to call Dinah. She said it didn’t sound like I was in active labor yet but that she would come by to encourage me and talk to me. She wanted to talk to me on the phone to see if I was “hot and heavy”. Mostly, I was pissed. I didn’t want to talk to her. I was thinking that if I was in the hospital I would ask for an epidural not for pain but just for rest. I was sick of not being able to lie down for more than 3 minutes. When I would fall asleep, I would wake up with a contraction which was much harder to deal with than feeling one coming on while awake.

Dinah came over around 2 o clock. I told her my morale was low. I was supposed to be induced the next day anyway. I was not dead set on having a home birth, I wanted it to happen as long as everything went smoothly but this seemed to be unusually long and drawn out. She reminded me that going to the hospital would not be a quick solution, that it would still take several hours. She said that she did not want to examine me because she was thinking that I was probably only 3-4 cm dilated and that it would be too discouraging to me. I told her that if I was 3-4 cm I was done and wanted to go to the hospital for augmentation and delivery. I was discouraged. I wanted my baby in my arms, I felt like I had waited long enough. I felt like if I had labored this long to only be 4 cm that it was a sign that we should go to the hospital. In that case, Dinah decided she should examine me so that she could give the doctor the information. When Dinah was checking me she said “Oh my God, you are never going to believe this!! You are 8 cm”. At this point I almost cried with relief.  It was happening, and soon I would have my baby.

I think the marathon analogy applies best here. Laboring is much like marathon training- you read about it and you hear stories and you know what to expect. I felt like I was at mile 18 and someone told me “no- you are only at mile 4” and it made me want to quit and then that same person took a second look at the course map and said “oh wait, my mistake, you are at mile 22!”. As soon as I heard 8 cm I was euphoric and excited. All my fears melted away.

The rest was a blur- I labored- Dinah called in Ty and the backup midwife, Ginger. They checked me again a couple hours later- I had an anterior lip left but was fully dilated otherwise. Dinah told me to wait until I felt pushy and then just push and see what happened. They checked the baby’s heart rate often- it was always fine, in the 120s. Josh sat in the tub fully clothed while I labored on the toilet. It was funny, I always imagined that the baby would be born in the bath but I really felt like it was not the place. I never imagined the baby would be born in the toilet but when I was laboring that was the most comfortable place to be. Once I felt like pushing, mostly out of curiosity and impatience rather than a feeling, I tried several positions. I hated being on all fours, I hated being on the bed or in the bedroom, I loved the toilet, hated squatting, hated hanging onto a towel and squatting. Anything where I felt the least bit out of control I hated. And boy I loved that toilet. I really tried to make that work. I pushed and pushed and nothing much happened! The water broke and was clear, it even broke in the toilet which was convenient. When I was squatting everyone agreed that the head was emerging and that it was going a lot faster. Finally, after 4 hours of this and checking the baby’s heartrate every 2-5 minutes, Dinah said “okay- this is what we are going to do- you are going to hate it but we are going into that bedroom and you are going to lie on your back, we are going to hold your legs back and we are going to deliver this baby. It will be different than in the hospital because you are going to have your legs and bottom in the air.” I agreed to give it a try. Surprisingly, I felt like I could push more effectively. They asked me if I wanted a mirror, I said no. They asked me if I wanted to touch the head, I tried and it felt squishy and slimy and nothing like a head at all. With every push they would say it was going really well. I was told to push through the stinging and burning. I told them I was afraid I was going to tear in half. They reassured me that it was fine, I was not tearing, it would be okay. I did scream during the pushing not because it hurt but from exertion. I never imagined the pushing would be the hardest part. So many people said pushing was a relief! Finally, I was able to scream and push and push and push her head out, that was a brief relief and they noticed a nuchal cord. Josh reassured me that it had some slack and while they could not reduce it it was not compressed. Dinah took over from Ty at this point and the shoulders were delivered quickly and the cord was reduced and the baby was tossed on my stomach- what an amazing relief and sight. I was beyond elated. Josh was supposed to announce the sex but I immediately saw it was a girl and cried out “it’s a girl!!!” We were instantly in love with this pink screaming baby. I remember saying, “oh my God, she is beautiful!” I never imagined that I would have a beautiful baby, healthy I hoped but beautiful and healthy seemed too greedy. Josh called the grandmothers who were circling the block and losing their minds. They asked if they could come over then, Josh asked them for 20 minutes so that the baby and I could be looked after. Livia was grunting and needed to be suctioned and I felt a gush of fluid and Dinah said that it was quite a bit of blood- I delivered the placenta and there was another huge gush of blood. She estimated about 750 cc of blood loss. My heart rate was elevated. They immediately started bringing in more fluid and encouraging me to drink and lie flat in the bed. I knew everything would be okay but it was a little scary, I kept telling Dinah to just give me pitocin. I am sure she really appreciated me trying to tell her how to manage her patient!

I could hear the grandparents come in… I could hear them crying and greeting their new granddaughter, my mom came in the bedroom sobbing, “she is beautiful! Are you okay??” It was very sweet. Everyone was crying and happy. We all agreed, Livia Pauline was beautiful in every way. My sister Jessica, her husband Matt, Josh’s sister Michele, Lauren, and my parents and Josh’s parents were all there within 30 minutes of her birth. They were there for her exam, her weight, everything. Livia was born at 9:16 p.m. She weighed 9 lbs 2 oz. By midnight, Josh and I were alone in our bedroom with our gorgeous child.  Josh held out the camera and took a photo of the three of us, our new family all together in bed, it was a perfect beginning.

 

 

My pregnancy with Ethan in the beginning was pretty harsh.  I was vomiting after every meal, every day, for three whole months!  I was loosing weight, and my OB-GYN and I were very concerned out about me being malnourished.  Even-though I thought I would never stop vomiting, I did and I started to feel fabulous and eventually stopped vomiting.  During my pregnancy I read all the mainstream books, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, “Belly Stories”, and just a few others.  I knew I really wanted a natural birth, but I didn’t find any support or knowledge in any of these books.  My OB-GYN was more clueless than I was, however he admired my bravery, and told me he would be totally supportive to all of my choices.  It definitely helped to have my mother-in-law in the position she is in.  She is the OB-GYN coordinator at the hospital I was delivering at, so I got extra special attention and every perk.

My husband Andrew and I had an appointment with our OB-GYN and I was checked for dilation.  I was at 4 cm dilation!  We were ready to have this baby and our doctor was happy to accommodate especially since he was working Labor and Delivery that evening.  He stripped my membranes and gave me an aggressive vaginal exam.  We were sent on our way and told to call when we felt anything different.

We were having dinner with my parents on July 20th. It was my dad’s birthday, and as we were leaving at about 10:00 p.m. we decided to call our doctor to see if we could come in.  Andrew and I went home, packed a few things and took our time getting to Baylor.

We arrived at Baylor at around 11:00 p.m. and I was checked to see how far dilated I was.  Still 4 cm, not bad!  Our OB-GYN suggested that we break the water bag to help speed labor.  At this time I was also told I would have to have an saline lock put into place in case I need an epidural.  Even-though I was positive that I wouldn’t take an epidural, not having a saline lock was out of the question.  Needless to say I was more than upset about this.  My water bag was broken, and from that point on labor came on strong.  I rolled around on the birth ball with Andrew sitting in front of me, my mom by my side, and my mother-in- law in and out of the room.  Bless her heart, it was so hard for her to see me this way.  The hours crawled by, and I was trooping through every contraction.

By about 6:00 a.m. I was fully dilated and really had a very strong urge to push.  So, I went at it, but I had no idea what I was doing.  I didn’t know how to bring all that energy down into my bottom and effectively move him through my birth canal.  After about an hour of pushing I figured it out, although I was exhausted, and pushed for another hour.  I felt an intense burn but I just pushed right through it.  Finally, on July 21, 2004, at 8:34 a.m. I delivered our beautiful baby boy Ethan.  I was on cloud 9, sobbing with Andrew, and holding our baby boy.

I delivered the placenta without any complications, and our fantastic OB-GYN, Ryan checked me out for perineum damage, and told us that I didn’t have a single scratch on me!  I had such a great birth, but at the very end, another OB-GYN came into the room, spread my legs, looked over at my doctor and said “Good Job.”  He wasn’t talking to me.  I was completely shocked and felt very violated.  Andrew didn’t even notice, he was busy falling in love, but in that moment I decided I wanted a more private birth, with an advocate.

I had an incredible birth, but not everyone has a mother-in-law who can get them a leg up in the hospital birth setting, that’s why I’m a doula!

 

Our new baby has arrived!  My pregnancy with Jason was almost identical to Ethan’s in every way.  Nausea in the beginning, really tired, and happy.  I did not actually vomit near as much as I did with Ethan… what a relief!  I had nice long talks about my dream birth with Andrew and found that we had very different views about what a safe birth situation would be.  After meeting our fabulous midwife, Dinah, we both agreed that a birth center setting is right for us.  My continuity of care was tons better with Dinah.  She took the time to ask me how I was over a cup of hot tea.  She even let big brother Ethan squirt sono gel on my belly to hear Jason’s heart beating over the Doppler.

scan00031

 

 

I had the joy of being pregnant with one of my close friends Brianna.  We were due just two short weeks apart.  It was so nice to complain to her and compare baby bellies.  We would let our boys play together as we bonded over the great lives growing in each other.  Andrew and I decided to not find out the sex of our baby to come, and Brianna and her husband Seth decided to do the same. We would dream and wonder if we would be buying pink or blue for our bundles of joy!

It was very important for Andy and I to have Ethan present for the birth of his baby brother.  We hoped the experience would normalize birth for him.  It would be so wonderful that when the time comes for Ethan to have babies, if he so chooses, that it won’t be such an alien experience for him.  Dinah was very supportive of our choice to have him there, but she made it very clear that we must have someone there devoted to tend to Ethan 100%.  We asked my mom if she would take on the job, and she was thrilled!

Well, Ethan and I decided that it would be nice to spend a hot summer Wednesday by the pool.  We swam from 12:00-4:00pm eating juicy red watermelon, getting good and tired.  Ethan said he had enough  of swimming and so we started cooking dinner.  I made chicken enchiladas and rice with vegetables and we chowed down; swimming certainly made us hungry!  Andrew called saying he would be home early and we were happy to have him home.  I took a nice relaxing shower as Andrew read Ethan a bed time story, and I turned in early, exhausted from our busy day.

At about 11:00pm I went to the bathroom, and as I lie down I felt my first contraction.  I really thought it was just warm up contractions.  I tried hard to sleep, but they just were not going away.  After Andrew pleading with me to call Dinah, I finally did.  She sweetly suggested to take a hot bath and have a glass of wine.  I did so knowing this would determine if I was in real labor.  As I was relaxing in the steamy bath in the company of my lovely husband my contractions were gaining speed, but the intensity felt about the same.  I felt fine, just tired and a little annoyed that this might be real labor and I didn’t get a good night’s rest.  Andrew was calling my parent’s house back to back for about thirty minutes but no answer.  We decided Ethan would just come with us and everything would be just fine.  I got out of the bath and laid in bed, still feeling fine.  As a doula, I determined myself to be about 2-4 centimeters dilated.  Andrew was busy putting the car seat in my car, getting food for the birth packed, and gathering entertainment for Ethan.

By 1:00am my rushes began to gain speed and slightly gain intensity.  I was experiencing them painlessly about every two minutes apart.  It was definitely time to go to the birth center.  We called Dinah and she was also on her way.  We woke Ethan from his deep slumber at about 1:30am and told him it was time to have the baby!  Ethan responded with, “What a silly time to have a baby!  The moon is out!”.

As we made out way to the birth center, I felt my rushes intensify and my uterus really started to work hard.  My baby was also working hard.  I knew I was transitioning as we drove on highway 635.  I felt disconnected from everything around me.  The bright highway lights whizzing by seemed worlds away as I felt waves of energy crash over my body.

We arrived at Lovers Lane Birth Center at 2:00am.  Ethan and I walked in together as Andrew gathered our things from he car.  As I squatted on the bed, Ethan made himself comfortable on a cot right next to the bed.  Dinah checked me to see where I was in my labor and was quite surprised to find there was no cervix left and I should be pushing very soon!  I couldn’t believe it either!  Just proves that you can’t doula yourself.  I tried pushing in a couple different positions before I settled on standing with my legs spread and supporting myself on my husband’s strong shoulders.

After pushing only thirty short minutes, I birthed our beautiful baby and Ethan was right at my rear end to witness it all!  Dinah quickly handed the baby to Andrew as I laid down onto the bed.  “Well, is it a boy or girl?” I said.  “It’s a BOY”, Andrew said with tears in his eyes!  We were so elated with everything.  His name is Jason.  I nursed him as he nuzzled his way to my breast and my placenta came right out.  We asked Dinah to preserve it so we could plant it under a tree in honor of his precious life.

our-jason

After a good forty-five minutes, Dinah and her assistant, Pam, asked if I wanted to take a quick shower to rinse off.  That was just music to my ears!  Pam gave me shampoo and conditioner, and helped me reach all those hard to reach spots that I couldn’t see.  I did some light yoga stretches so I wouldn’t get sore.  Andrew was with Ethan and Jason resting in the other birth room.  Dinah got my food ready and we sat on the bed laughing and eating.  When I finished I slept only a short while.

Dinah came into the bedroom with Andrew and Jason, gently woke me and asked if I wanted to go home.  I was happily looking forward to sleeping in my own bed with our new little baby.  After just birthing our baby at 4:00am, we were home and asleep by 7:00am.  After having a natural birth at Baylor hospital, this birth was more that I had expected. Pure perfection!

 

 

The birth of Gilbert:

Gilbert was due on March 4th; on March 7th I went to see the midwife, and she stripped my membranes.  I was dilated to a 4 already (I also dilated to a 4 with my first pregnancy before I ever went into labor).  That was at about 3:45pm.  I started feeling really crampy, but nothing concrete that came and went.

About 5:30 pm I started having regular contractions ten or fifteen minutes apart, but I tried not to get too excited in case they went away.  I fed my little boy dinner and my husband Clint and I put him to bed around 7 pm.  After that, Clint and I watched TV but I couldn’t concentrate.  I called my midwife, but told her I wouldn’t come in for a long time.  I called my Doula, Rosemary, and she said she would be on her way in a little bit.  At about 8 pm Clint went to get me some Gatorade, and I jumped into the shower to try to get the contractions to come stronger.  I called my Mom, because she was going to go to to the hospital with us, but I told her I wouldn’t be going for a while. She was all worried that I would have the baby at home.  Clint came back, and my Mom showed up around 8:30 pm.  She brought my cousin who was going to stay with my son while we were in the hospital, and she brought my sister and her boyfriend.  At first I was mad that all those people (two of them male) were there; but to be honest, I blocked them out fairly well.

Just as I was starting to have to concentrate and breathe through the contractions, Rosemary came over. She started helping me right away.  She told me what positions would help, and reminded me to use the bathroom.  I drank nearly a whole water bottle after each contraction.  I got in the shower again, and Rosemary did some visualization with me.  Then she showed Clint and I how to slow dance\sway during contractions, and that helped a lot.

Slightly after 11 pm, it felt like the pain was shifting to the front
from my back.  When I told Rosemary, she said we should probably go to the hospital.  She rode with us and called the midwife for me.  She also massaged my stomach during the twenty minute drive.  I don’t remember much of the ride, but I do remember that the stars were really sparkly, and it looked like they were moving.  We got to the hospital, and my sister’s boyfriend parked to car for us.  I had to stop twice as we were walking to the check out desk to hang on Clint and breathe through the contractions.  Clint, my mom, Rosemary, and I went into the labor room (my sister and her boyfriend stayed in the waiting area).

I had to lie on the bed while they took the baby’s heart beat for twenty minutes, and the nurse asked me a thousand questions that I already answered on the preregistration form.  I had to get my mom to answer the complicated ones.  It was really not fun to lay on the bed.  The nurse was nice and let me lie on my side, even though she couldn’t get a contraction reading when I did that.  She just asked Rosemary how far apart and how long they were.  Apparently at that point they were 2 minutes apart and 45 seconds long.  The midwife, Lindsey, came in and checked me while I was lying down.  I was already dilated to an 8, which was encouraging!!!!  She said that the main thing holding us up was that my water hadn’t broken, and she said we might want to do some visualization of the water bag breaking.

I got up and got in the shower, and Rosemary massaged my back and helped me visualize my water breaking.  I started chanting , “My water bag is breaking,” and Rosemary chanted with me.  My husband stayed in the other room.  He was happy to let Rosemary take over at that point.

After 45 minutes (a little after 1 in the morning), Rosemary and I talked, and I asked Lindsey to break my water.  She did, and it was like a really huge, intense pressure all the sudden.  The first contraction after that was really hard, but then Rosemary helped me focus.  I started blowing raspberries, and that helped a lot.  I had I think about two contractions that way, and then Lindsey told me to blow candles at Rosemary, because Gilbert was crowning, and she didn’t want him to come out to fast and tear me.  He came out then, and he was beautiful!!!  I was so excited!  He had a lot of thick dark hair, and he was 8 pounds.  I didn’t tear at all.  He nursed right away.

The experience was great; everything I thought it would be.  I felt
really close to Gilbert as we went through the birth experience together.

lily

 

 

 

The birth of Lily:

Lily was due on the 9th of January.  I went to see the midwife on the 8th, and she stripped my membranes.  I felt vaguely crampy all day, but nothing big.  I went to work at 4pm, and worked till 9pm.  I got home and watched a Dallas Mavericks basketball game till about 9:30pm.  I was kind of feeling contractions, so I took a shower to see if I could bring them on more.  After the shower, I felt nothing so I went to bed.

As soon as I was lying down, I started having contractions again, so I got back up.  Clint was watching football, and I went out and told him I thought I was in labor.  I called my parents and told them not to go to bed, but that it would be a while because my contractions were irregular.  My Dad was going to stay with my two boys, and my Mom was coming to the birth center.

It was about 10:30pm and I sat down to read a book and waited for the contractions to get more regular.  I would have a fairly light one and another fairly light one 6 minutes later, then I wouldn’t have another one for 12 minutes, but it would be a really strong one.  I waited to call the birth center, because I thought it would be a really long time since they were so irregular.  I thought they might even just go away.  Finally at 11:30pm I called the birth center.  They still weren’t regular, but they weren’t going away.  I called my Mom and told her were leaving, but not to rush.  Right after I got off the phone I started having contractions 3 minutes apart for 30-45 seconds.  I called Mom and told her to hurry after all.

We left around midnight for the 25 minute drive.  It hurt if we hit a bump while I was having a contraction and I would groan a little. Clint would stomp on the gas, which hurt worse.  I think he was a little unnerved because I wasn’t  laboring hard, then suddenly I was really in labor.

We got to the birth center and the midwife, Cherie, checked me.  I was dilated to a 6cm (I was only a 2cm that morning).  Right after she checked me, my water broke!  Cherie told me to go for a power walk outside.  I didn’t like that much and was back in 5 minutes.  I had to go to the bathroom anyway.  I
got in the shower, but that didn’t help much either.  With Gilbert, I had time to get used to the contractions; they got harder gradually. With Lily, they were really intense all at once.  I tried groaning, but that didn’t help much either.  My legs really ached, and the pain didn’t go all the way away in between contractions like it had with Gilbert.

Cherie checked me and said I was a 10 cm, but with a persistent cervical lip.  I waited, but I didn’t feel like pushing.  With Gilbert, it was an overwhelming urge.  Finally, after twenty minutes or so, I kind of felt like pushing.  It turns out I didn’t really know how to push, because with the other two, all I did was basically try and slow down the inhuman rate that my body had inadvertently pushed the other two out.  Cherie gave me some pushing pointers, and told me she would just slide right out.  I pushed, and it was REALLY hard work.  I pushed again during the next contraction, an managed to get her head out, and it HURT, much more than with Gilbert.  And then, much to my dismay, I had to push a little more to get her shoulders out.  She was posterior (face up), and that’s why it hurt more and was harder to push her out.  I was tired, but thrilled that she actually was a girl.

She was beautiful!!  Pink all over, with a really round head.  She was 8 pounds.  Her birth experience was good, but it was fast and really intense.  I really wish I had asked Rosemary to help me.  I thought that I wouldn’t need extra help since I was at a birth center. One of the birth attendants massaged my legs for a while, and that was so nice.  It would have been nice to have someone doing something like that the whole time.  I think part of the problem was that I didn’t ask for things like massage, but sometimes when you are in labor it is difficult to communicate your needs. When Rosemary was there for Gilbert’s birth, she anticipated what I needed.  I would definitely recommend having a Doula!!!!  It was really short though, and that was really nice.

gerstner

 

 

 

The birth of Peyton:

I did it! All natural. I am very proud of myself, but it freaking killed; and I don’t ever want to forget that indescribable pain.

It didn’t go as planned, but it was ten times better than my first 2 births.  With Rosemary’s help my husband and I were more educated and knew exactly how we wanted our birth to go. The best thing that Rosemary taught us was that it is OUR birth and we did have choices.  We also learned that it is the best thing we could do for our baby.

When I went in for my 38 week check up, my midwife’s partner checked me and I was at a 7!  Then she kind of freaked me out by saying that I needed to go to the hospital and have my bag of water broken to avoid having the baby in the car or go into labor at home with no help because the baby would come out really fast.  I wish that it would have been my primary midwife because I couldn’t decide if she was worried more about my baby coming quickly or her having to drive to the hospital in the middle of the night.  So I said “No” and went home and called my husband Seth.  Of course, he freaked out  and came home immediately even though I wasn’t in labor.  The midwife called my house and asked me to go to the hospital again.

Seth and I did what informed couples do best to try to start labor and we kind of chilled to see if it would work.  We cleaned the house, I finished sewing curtains for the boy’s room, got the boys packed and took them to a friend’s for the night.

Seth talked me into going to the hospital.  Once there I was checked to see if the bag of water was broken and then it ruptured.  She couldn’t let me go home so we had her break it all the way.  I had been having contractions for months, but nothing to prepare me for transition contractions right away.  It sucked so bad.  I thought I was going to die, but it was great to be able to get into a position where I could actually feel the baby moving down.  I could tell I was making progress instead of just lying on my back.  I was on my knees facing the back of the bed that was propped up in a sitting position and in between contractions I could just hug the bed and rest.  During contractions I would hold Seth’s hands and pull on them with everything I had.  It was crazy.

I had him out in about 5 pushes.  It was only a total of 2 hours of hard labor, so it really wasn’t that bad.  After I pushed him out I felt so great!  Both my baby and I were much more awake and responsive than after my first 2 births.

This baby was my biggest and so far my healthiest of all 3 of my boys.  It really was worth it, but I don’t want to do it again for a really long time!



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